Branch level availability a reality for less than customers think

Wed, 2010/04/28

With the strides certain technology vendors have made in the realms of virtualisation, low cost computing and always-on connectivity, the lost revenue and reputation damage resulting from data loss, unscheduled downtime and unforeseen system instability could become a thing of the past – even at a branch office level.


So says Pieter van der Merwe, availability solutions architect at Stratus Technologies who adds that a great deal of the hardware functionality responsible for providing companies with increased uptime and resilience is today being replicated by software.


“That said however, software is today only capable of delivering ‘high’ levels of availability as opposed to the ‘continuous’ levels of availability Stratus’ hardware solutions are able to deliver,” van der Merwe continues. 


Van der Merwe says that high-availability solutions are perfect for branch-side deployments though and at the competitive costs Stratus can offer, a damn sight better than what has been available in the past.


“High-availability solutions offer four nines (99.99%) of uptime and availability versus the six nines of availability (99.9999%) of uptime and availability Stratus’ hardware-based solutions deliver,” van der Merwe says.


“And while it might not sound like there’s much in it, but in reality that’s the difference between 4.25 hours of downtime and 32 seconds of downtime a year,” he adds.


“It makes sense then, that Stratus’ software-based high availability solution, namely Avance, costs one tenth of its hardware-based continuous availability counterpart,” van der Merwe says.


“And it’s no secret that the reduced cost we’ve achieved with Avance results from our use of virtualisation and the ability to deploy on other vendor’s server hardware. Since the solution also doesn’t rely on the presence of a SAN, huge savings stem from the reduced need for storage infrastructure and skills,” he says.


“For many companies this means they can recycle their existing hardware using Avance and cutting down on the potential costs of procuring new infrastructure for their branch offices,” van der Merwe adds.


“Ultimately, by using a hardware-based solution such as our ftServers in the datacentre and a software-based solution such as our Avance system at a branch level,” he says, “customers land in a situation where they have a far higher level of availability than what they ever anticipated for far less than what they thought they would have to spend.


“It’s exciting to think of what will be possible in the coming years as this technology evolves,” he adds.


“Until then it’s great to know that there’s a very capable solution for small and medium sized businesses, as well as those companies that place importance on their branch level uptime,” he concludes.